Friday, October 26, 2007

Cheney's Victory in Iraq

Why did the U.S. invade and occupy Iraq when 17 of 19 alleged 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia and none were from Iraq?

The conventional wisdom (for those who even bother to ask that question) is, "It's the oil."

Jim Holt, writing in the London Review of Books, puts a lot of muscle on that skeleton. A summary of his article (which you should read):

"Because of its long isolation, it is the least explored of the world’s oil-rich nations. A mere two thousand wells have been drilled across the entire country; in Texas alone there are a million." But Iraq has more than five times the oil of Texas and the rest of the U.S., says Holt (possibly unaware of the staggering resources in Alaska). Total value of Iraq oil at today's prices: $30 Trillion.

"The draft law that the US has written for the Iraqi congress would cede nearly all the oil to Western companies. The Iraq National Oil Company would retain control of 17 of Iraq’s 80 existing oilfields, leaving the rest – including all yet to be discovered oil – under foreign corporate control for 30 years."

Washington D.C. will be in control for at least 30 years. The ruling elite speak of "the Korea model," recalling the last 60 years of U.S. forces in Korea. "Five self-sufficient ‘super-bases’ are in various stages of completion" in Iraq. "In February last year, the Washington Post reporter Thomas Ricks described one such facility, the Balad Air Base, forty miles north of Baghdad. A piece of (well-fortified) American suburbia in the middle of the Iraqi desert, Balad has fast-food joints, a miniature golf course, a football field, a cinema and distinct neighbourhoods – among them, ‘KBR-land’, named after the Halliburton subsidiary that has done most of the construction work at the base. Although few of the 20,000 American troops stationed there have ever had any contact with an Iraqi, the runway at the base is one of the world’s busiest. ‘We are behind only Heathrow right now,’ an air force commander told Ricks."

Local control of Iraq is unacceptable to Washington. "An independent Kurdistan in the north might upset Turkey, an independent Shia region in the east might become a satellite of Iran, and an independent Sunni region in the west might harbour al-Qaida."

So there are no plans to withdraw from Iraq. "The three principal Democratic candidates – Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards – have already hedged their bets, refusing to promise that, if elected, they would remove American forces from Iraq before 2013, the end of their first term."

Democrat ties to big-oil are just as thick as Republican ties.

But power -- international hegemony -- drives Washington as much or more than profits. "The Iranian regime is precarious. Unpopular mullahs hold onto power by financing internal security services and buying off elites with oil money, which accounts for 70 per cent of government revenues. If the price of oil were suddenly to drop to, say, $40 a barrel (from a current price just north of $80), the repressive regime in Tehran would lose its steady income. And that is an outcome the US could easily achieve by opening the Iraqi oil spigot for as long as necessary (perhaps taking down Venezuela’s oil-cocky Hugo Ch├ívez into the bargain)."

China is also a threat. "Around a trillion dollars’ worth of US denominated debt is held by China. This gives Beijing enormous leverage over Washington: by offloading big chunks of US debt, China could bring the American economy to its knees." "China is acquiring new submarines five times faster than the US."
"The main constraint on China’s growth is its access to energy – which, with the US in control of the biggest share of world oil, would largely be at Washington’s sufferance. Thus is the Chinese threat neutralised."

Thus, an investment of $1 trillion and a few thousand lives reaps $30 trillion and global hegemony for the federales. "Was the strategy of invading Iraq to take control of its oil resources actually hammered out by Cheney’s 2001 energy task force? One can’t know for sure, since the deliberations of that task force, made up largely of oil and energy company executives, have been kept secret by the administration on the grounds of ‘executive privilege.’" "On the assumption that the Bush-Cheney strategy is oil-centred, the tactics – dissolving the army, de-Baathification, a final ‘surge’ that has hastened internal migration – could scarcely have been more effective." "In terms of realpolitik, the invasion of Iraq is not a fiasco; it is a resounding success."

Is this some kind of far-fetched "conspiracy theory?" Jim Holt quickly turns to nip that idea in the bud:

"Still, there is reason to be sceptical of the picture I have drawn: it implies that a secret and highly ambitious plan turned out just the way its devisers foresaw, and that almost never happens."

In fact, most of history has been determined by conspiracies. America's Founding Fathers conspired against the British government because they believed the British government was engaged in a "conspiracy against liberty." Did Hitler conspire to take over Germany? Did the Bolsheviks conspire to seize control of Russia?

Dr. Bella Dodd, a former member of the National Committee of the Communist Party, USA, who left the Party and became a committed anti-communist, recounted that on occasion top orders for the Party came not from Moscow but from any one of three designated men at the Waldorf Towers in New York -- all of whom were extremely wealthy American capitalists. "I think the Communist conspiracy is merely a branch of a much bigger conspiracy," said Dr. Dodd. "I would certainly like to find out who is really running things."

An important clue concerning "who is really running things" was revealed in 1966 when Professor Carroll Quigley of Georgetown University published his massive history, Tragedy and Hope. Professor Quigley, who had access to the secret records of the international network of moneyed power elites who have formed much of our governmental policies for decades, averred that "this network, which we may identify as the Round Table Groups, has no aversion to cooperating with the Communists, or any other groups, and frequently does so."

In his Memoirs, David Rockefeller admitted,

“Some [ideological extremists] believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure — one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”

There are lots of conspiracies. We've been trained in government schools to disbelieve in their existence. Dick Cheney and men like him are investing hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives to pull off a conspiracy to secure geopolitical supremacy, setting up governments in the Mideast, writing their constitutions and laws, and securing oil profits which may not even be realized in their lifetimes. Their vision extends way beyond the next administration.

Rockefeller's Memoirs was one of the most interesting books I've ever read, and a used copy can be obtained at Amazon.com for $0.61. These people think in ways and about subjects very different from those occupying the thoughts of farmers and merchants in southwest Missouri. They're not like the pathetic "investor" on the TV commercial who buys a work of art at an auction and immediately tries to turn around and sell it. The "conspirators" at the highest levels of wealth and power seek a global legacy, not a short-term profit.

ht: Mission Accomplished: A New Look at Bush's Victory in Iraq. Chris Floyd - Empire Burlesque - High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium

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